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85 Year Old to Race Again!
BPS File Photo by Roy Schmidt - Rockford Speedway
BPS File Photo by Roy Schmidt - Rockford Speedway
February 12th 2011 - The race that changed the life and career of Marvin Panch

By Marvette Panch Bagwell

Fifty years ago, Marvin Panch was about to get the opportunity of a
lifetime. After a somewhat tumultuous racing career filled with ups and
downs, factory rides and struggling as an independent, Marvin was about to
enter a second hand, year old, Pontiac Catalina that would redirect his
racing career.

Smokey Yunick, one of the premier stock car builders of the area, agreed to
let his mechanics rebuild a 1960 Pontiac Catalina that Fireball Roberts had
campaigned the previous year. Unconvinced that the car would be a contender
in the race, Smokey required the mechanics to work on the car outside, after
hours, ensuring that their primary focus was on the newer, sleeker and more
powerful '61 Catalina that Fireball Roberts would drive in the race.
Unbeknownst to either Smokey or Marvin, the mechanics' efforts would pay off
big in a 1961 Daytona 500 win.

It's fitting that in the 50th anniversary of one of the more defining
moments in Marvin Panch's racing career that he would once again climb into
a #20 race car in a competitive racing series. On May 28th (coinciding with
his 85th birthday), Marvin will drive a black and gold #20, this time a
modern day Dodge Challenger stock car, at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.

In a chance meeting at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) show in Orlando
last December, Marvin walked by a booth promoting a racing series for the
more "mature" stock car drivers. Intrigued, Marvin began a dialog with Chis
Evans, the owner and president of the Great American Stockcar Series. After
hearing about the innovations and safety efforts that are put into the race
cars, Marvin's excitement grew and he expressed an interest in the series.
Excited at the prospect of having a NASCAR legend in their series, Chris and
Marvin quickly came to an agreement where Marvin will pilot the #20 car (in
honor of the 50th anniversary of his Daytona 500 win) for the 2011 race
season. Visit to view pics of Marvin's new ride.

Marvin will be a fixture at this year's Daytona SpeedWeek events in and
around the Daytona International Speedway.

- On February 12th (Sat), fans can have the opportunity to see
both of Marvin's race cars (the Daytona 500 winning 1960 #20 Pontiac
Catalina and the new #20 GASS Dodge Challenger) at the Ramada Inn Speedway
(across from the Daytona International Speedway). He'll be there signing
autographs from 11 am - 3pm.

- February 12th (Sat) Marvin will be a guest on Droppin the
Hammer radio show which airs 11:00am - noon

- On February 14, (Mon) Fans can see the #20 GASS Dodge Charger
at the Rotary Stock Car Hall of Fame celebration at the Shores Resort and
Spa in Daytona Beach Shores. Tickets are still available for the event at

- On February 15, (Tues) Marvin will be signing autographs and
selling his autobiography at the Living Legends of Auto Racing Charity
Auction at the Plaza Spa & resort starting at 6:00pm.

- From February 14th through February 20th, the Marvin Panch
mobile museum will be on display within the Fan Zone inside the Daytona
Beach International Speedway. The mobile museum is a Robin Hanger The Car
Shop Trailer Sales donated ClearTrailer that houses the winning 1960 #20
Pontiac Catalina , the original Daytona 500 trophy from 1961, as well as
assorted pictures and memorabilia targeted to the racing enthusiast.

- February 16 (Wed) Marvin will be yakking it up with Chocolate on
Tradin' Paint - NASCAR Sirius Radio at 11:30am

- In addition, Marvin will be appearing at two autograph
sessions within FanZone at February 17th (Thu) and 18th (Fri) from 10am -

Feel free to stop by the events and say hi to Marvin, grab an autograph and
check out his old (and new) race cars.

Great American Stockcar Series drivers are a diverse group of men and women
from across the country who share a passion for highly competitive auto
racing, but without the associated costs or time commitments of managing
their own race team.

Participants in the series drive identically prepared high performance
late-model style stockcars. The 28 machines in the 2011 GASS field are
powered by Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge race engines and are meticulously
set-up and maintained by GASS pit crew for changing track conditions and
driver preferences.

To be a member of the GASS team, all you have to do is be 45 or older and
have the desire to compete. No previous experience necessary. The GASS team
takes pride in providing a fun, fair and competitive racing experience at
some of the premier racetracks in the country. Each GASS race is televised
on Fox Sports Net, Sundays at 10:00 Beginning July 24, 2011

If you are looking for the next adventure in your life and driving a
race-ready stock car appeals to you, please contact our Sales and Marketing
staff through our website at for more information on racing
with GASS.
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